Contrary to those who say the jury messed up in the George Zimmerman trial, Ta-Nehisi Coates has a new piece up that will be a tough read for many here, but which makes it all the more important. Because Coates, as he often does, gets at the larger picture that faces our society.
Under Florida law, George Zimmerman had no responsibility to -- at any point -- retreat. The state must prove that Zimmerman had no reasonable fear for his life. Moreover, it is not enough for the jury to find Zimmerman's story fishy.Read the whole thing.
The injustice inherent in the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman was not authored by a jury given a weak case. The jury's performance may be the least disturbing aspect of this entire affair. The injustice was authored by a country which has taken as its policy, for the lionshare of its history, to erect a pariah class. The killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is not an error in programming. It is the correct result of forces we set in motion years ago and have done very little to arrest.
You should not be troubled that George Zimmerman "got away" with the killing of Trayvon Martin, you should be troubled that you live in a country that ensures that Trayvon Martin will happen.
As for the trial and the evidence itself, bmaz over at Emptywheel's site wrote something similar before the verdict came in, saying:
there has never been a good factual rebuttal to George Zimmerman’s own account of self defense. You know why? Because there is not any compelling rebuttal within the facts as adduced in the investigation and entered in the record at trial. And the presumption of innocence and burden of proof in the American criminal justice system still mean something.He then goes on to list several things that many people didn't know. I admit, even after following quite a bit of this whole saga for the past 18 months, I had no idea a suspect was ever caught in the home invasion.
Did you know that powerful local mayoral office politicians involved themselves, by meeting with only the victim’s family and their attorneys, in an improper ex-parte manner, to go over the most critical evidence during the early stages of the investigation and before said Martin family members’ statements were relied on to file charges? I bet you did not, but that has been the testimony in the trial record.Incredibly harsh. It goes against everything that I feel should have happened. But is he correct? And is the best course of action, given what these two wrote, to petition the Justice Department to file suit? Should our focus be on repealing the Stand Your Ground law in Florida?
Did any of you see the young female neighborhood homeowner, Olivia Bertalan, that testified Wednesday as to the crime spree that was ongoing in her and Zimmerman’s neighborhood, Retreat at Twin Lakes, including the home invasion where she and her child were victims of one or more home invaders, and who was effusive in her praise for the concern of the neighborhood watch program and George Zimmerman? Did you know that, thanks in part to the actions of Zimmerman and his wife, the juvenile suspect was caught and sentenced as an adult by this same judge, Debra Nelson, to five years in prison? Probably not is my guess. But that, too, is the evidence.
Did any of you see the other neighbors, of all races, in Retreat at Twin Lakes who testified on Zimmerman’s behalf about the the facts of the case, that Trayvon Martin was the aggressor on top of Zimmerman when the shooting occurred, and the crime afflicting the neighborhood and the need for the neighborhood watch program? My guess is you did not. But that, too, is part of the evidence in the trial record.
The facts, the rule of law, and the constitutional burdens of proof compel an acquittal. Uncomfortable to hear; yes, it is. Necessary for an acquittal to occur; also, yes it is.